Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Fellowship Programme 2019 (Fully-funded to Germany)

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Fellowship Programme 2019 (Fully-funded to Germany)

Deadline: August 19, 2018

Applications for the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Fellowship Programme 2019 are now open. The IASS Fellowship Programme is inspired by the Potsdam Memorandum’s call to gather all sources of ingenuity and inspiration from academia, politics, business and civil society to address the sustainability challenges of our time. The fellows are a key resource for the institute; they support our research, improve their transdisciplinary methodology, and, together with their researchers, reach out to political, economic and social actors.

The Fellowship Programme is designed to bring highly qualified people from academia, the business world, and civil society to the institute, who provide expertise, inspiration, and creative input. In return, the IASS offers fellows the opportunity to develop their ideas in an international community of world-class researchers, within the institute as well as in the wider research landscape of Potsdam and Berlin. The fellows are actively supported in their endeavours to make new connections and to develop new ideas and activities together with IASS researchers..

Every year, about 30 Fellows from around the world at multiple career stages are invited to join the institute for up to one year. Fellows work with each other and together with the staff of the IASS, they provide expertise, inspiration, and creative input. In turn, the IASS offers Fellows the opportunity to develop their ideas within an international community of well-known researchers, not only within the institute, but also within the wider Potsdam-Berlin area. A key aspect is the transdisciplinary approach to research, bringing together individuals from academia, politics, the business sector and civil society while actively engaging in public discourse.


The IASS invites applications for fellowships focusing on the following issues for 2019:

  • Theories and methodologies of how to link transformation and transformative research: 
    The IASS investigates and supports transformation processes towards sustainability based on democratic processes that include dealing with societal conflicts and plural forms of knowledge. The institute aims to develop a theoretical and methodological approach that addresses the gap between science and society/politics. The institute pursues its role as a navigator for exploring, developing a deep understanding of and producing the resulting orientation knowledge for transformations towards sustainability.
  • Concepts and methodologies for collecting and measuring societal impact of transformation research: The IASS is mandated to produce both academic and societal impact. Whilst measuring academic performance is well established in the evaluation practice, measuring impacts on politics and society remains a major challenge. The IASS aims not only to develop an effective and innovative evaluation framework that can be used across different application areas of sustainability science but also undertakes to make a significant contribution to the theory and practice of such impact assessments.


  • Fellows receive a financial compensation intended to cover their additional costs of living during their stay in Germany. The compensation is oriented towards the salary scheme of the German academic system and scaled according to the relative experience of the successful applicant.
  • The immediate travel costs (plane or train, overnight stay in case of very long-distance travels, etc.) will be covered. Costs like additional insurances, Visa-costs or the like will not be covered for.
  • Upon request, the IASS also provides limited resources, such as travel funding, publication fees or support for events.


  • The IASS seeks individuals from all disciplines and areas of society, including politicians, journalists and artists.
  • Applications with a thematic focus on the broader sustainability topics that the IASS is currently addressing are also welcomed.
  • Fellowships are open for individuals in all career stages and can be combined with sabbaticals.
  • The minimum requirement for academic applicants is a Ph.D.
  • For all others a Master Degree, or similar academic qualification, along with proven professional experience on sustainability issues, and English language proficiency are required. In case of outstanding qualifications and track record, applications by Ph.D. students, preferably from the Global South, may also be considered for a Fellowship.
  • The IASS emphasizes diversity in terms of geographic background and gender balance.


Principally, IASS Fellows will berelatively free in their work and may choose to associate themselves with various projects.

However, in general, the Fellows are expected to be ready to provide the following:

  • A seminar, talk or other presentation of their work and ideas within the IASS.
  • Participating in the regular “Fellow Meetings” of all Fellows of the IASS.
  • Be ready and open to engage in discussions and interactions with other Fellows and staff members of the IASS.
  • Acknowledge in case a publication or other activity benefited from the work done at the IASS.
  • Actively contributing to the further development of the Fellow programme.
  • A final report on the findings of their work.

In addition, some special formats may take place at the IASS every year, such as retreats with the Scientific Directors, to which Fellows may be invited.


The applications of potential Fellows will be submitted to a formal review process organized by the Fellow Unit and assisted by former Senior Fellows as reviewers. The final decision will be made by the Board of Directors in October of 2018.

For your application, they will need the following documents:

  • A letter of motivation and current CV. Please mention here or in your CV any prior experience at the interface between science and society, such as stakeholder dialogues, policy advice, or other activities.
  • A proposal outlining the activities you plan to conduct. The proposal should not exceed five pages (excluding literature and the like) and should be structured as follows:
    • A. Title
    • B. Abstract (max 300 words)
    • C. Key words (max 10)
    • D. Description of activities
    • E. Contribution to the work of the IASS (either to one of the two questions above, or other thematic areas of the institute)
    • F. Time and resource needs (length of intended Fellowship, and other needs, e.g. travel, workshops, etc.)

Please upload them in one PDF document (letter of motivation & CV and research proposal), which together should not exceed 8 megabytes.

In case of any questions, please feel free to contact the Fellow Unit of the IASS at [email protected].

Click here to apply.

For more information, visit IASS Fellowship.